Recognising Stress and Panic

We all know how student life can become really stressful. From weekly tasks and presentations to essays and reports, we constantly feel under pressure. When the exam period starts we’re already tired, and all we crave is rest. In the fortunate case that our deadlines are spread throughout the term, we can manage to go through it unscathed. However, what if all our assessments are due in the same period, maybe the same week? How do we deal with anxiety? If we were only engaged in the university probably we could even survive, but what if we added some other social activities such as volunteering, sports, clubs, socials? Since even deadlines can’t be sidestepped, here are some tips on how to be successful and avoid anxiety.

The first thing to do is recognize the symptoms of stress:

First, a tense situation can affect mood and relationships. When feeling overwhelmed and under pressure, our levels of irritability and anger tend to rise. Anxiety can also make us restless and demotivated, we feel less confident and we struggle with focusing on work. Anxiety also leads to sadness, and in worst case can turn into depression.

Second, stress has physical symptoms such as headache and tension in the muscles. Every minute it seems like we are starving, so we binge eat. Or, our lack of appetite means we don’t eat for hours or even days. This type of behaviour can lead to eating disorders and can affect our own perception of our body. We look at ourselves in the mirror and we don’t like what we see, we want to balance our diet but the stress keeps us from acting a better lifestyle. One more consequence of anxiety is that the level of adrenalin remains high, causing insomnia in many people. Sleep problems will inevitably affect concentration and productivity.

Third, the mind and body’s tension is reflected by behaviour. Increase in frequency of vices, angry outbursts, loneliness resulting from a self-imposed social withdrawal, laziness, irregularity in the period for women, and weakened immunity are some of the effects of stress on our behaviour. A persisting stress can cause hair loss and stimulate the skin ageing process as well.

It can be observed that most of the symptoms that have been identified are interlinked, like a chain whose first link is the stress and the last is the panic. Indeed, when excessive and extended in time, stress can result in panic.

When life gets too tense, when relationships, work, personal balance and peace of mind is badly affected by these symptoms, here are a few ways to get your life back in order.

Find active ways to manage your stress. Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to clear your mind and kick all the worries out of it. It can also be a remedy for eating disorders and for maintaining personal balance. If the level of anxiety becomes unbearable, some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga can help a lot. If you’ve got the opportunity, treat your body with a massage!

Don’t forget to set aside time for some calm activities such as reading a book, or listening to music. Putting on some music while cooking or having a shower can help you take a real break. Even if it’s just for an hour or less, that will help you recharge your energies and restart more motivated!

Keep your sense of humour high! When laughing you give off positive energy, and you have the chance to find out that sometimes the small, silly things are the ones that give us happiness and positivity.

Go out, meet up with your friends, don’t be scared of sharing your difficulties with the people you trust. You’ll discover that we’re all in the same boat, you are not alone!

When the time comes to go back to work, try to concentrate on what you are doing by focusing on one thing at a time. Once this is done you’ll think about the next one. Don’t try to overdo it, you can achieve great goals without going mad!

Hopefully, some of these tips will be useful and easy to be realized, and will make you feel ready and confident to say: GOODBYE STRESS!


Eleonora Peruch

Image: Australasian Science Magazine